A promising start to a new series bolstered by engaging characters and an intriguing premise.

THE OMICRON SIX

Two close friends discover they share surprising abilities and an unexpected connection in this YA SF thriller.

On the surface, Cooper Callister and Coupe Daschelete of Riding, Vermont, could not be any more different. Cooper was raised on a farm by his loving parents, Evelyn and Everett. Coupe lives with his single mother, Mary, and her boyfriend, Mark, and suffered horrific abuse at the hands of a local priest. Despite these distinctions, Cooper and Coupe develop an unbreakable bond and discover they have unique abilities. Cooper is physically strong and can get inside people’s heads while Coupe has extraordinarily keen senses. One day, the local police chief discovers surveillance photographs of a boy who resembles Coupe. The unidentified boy is a suspect in a series of disappearances but Coupe was nowhere near the crime scenes. Then Cooper and Coupe are abducted and taken to Deep Woods Academy in Maine. To their surprise, they learn they were created by geneticist Dr. Steven Stein as part of a project to make “better” humans. Stein calls the two boys and their siblings the Omicron Six. The geneticist is pleased with the project; but someone wants to put an end to his work and the threat may be closer than Cooper and Coupe realize. Wright’s series opener offers dynamic protagonists and supporting characters and fast-paced suspense. Cooper and Coupe are effective and likable heroes whose friendship and quest to figure out how they differ from their peers anchor the story. Some of the novel’s strongest moments focus on the boys’ connection and the positive effect it has on them, particularly Coupe, who finds a stable and supportive home with Cooper and his parents. The well-rounded supporting cast is led by Stein and three members of the Omicron Six, Cotovatre, Corwin, and Chase. The briskly paced narrative moves from bucolic Vermont to the woods of Maine as Cooper and Coupe discover more about the role the mysterious Stein plays in their lives.

A promising start to a new series bolstered by engaging characters and an intriguing premise.

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-67682-496-1

Page Count: 390

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences.

REALM BREAKER

When the realm is in danger, only a small band of misfits can save Allward.

An in medias res prologue, told from the point of view of the lone squire accompanying the 12 Companions of the Realm, tosses readers into the thick of a quest. Half the Companions are human heroes and half are immortal Elders; they seek to stop a rogue thief and his wizard accomplice from using a magical Spindle to tear a passage between worlds for nefarious ends. A disastrous battle sends squire Andry fleeing with Cortael’s sword so villain Taristan can’t get his hands on it. Grieving Elder Dom requires both a person of Corblood (a descendant of human travelers from another realm) and the Spindleblade Andry protects to stop Taristan from bringing ruin to the realm. Dom seeks Cortael’s secret daughter, Corayne, a bright but sheltered teenager with a pirate mother. At times the narrative tension is undermined by flashbacks that readers already know the conclusions to and by occasional repetition caused by the multiple point-of-view jumps, but there’s a wide variety of action scenes, daring escapes, and betrayals. Many tropes and character types are familiar, but exquisite descriptions and clashing motivations result in a nuanced, sprawling realm with a sense of complicated history. This world is highly diverse in terms of both skin tone and in the refreshing range of roles female characters inhabit.

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287262-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more